It’s always fun to take something from drab to fab that is not only decorative but functional as well. I found these shells at my local Salvation Army thrift store and upcycled them into organization dishes for my jewelry.

Supplies Needed: Shells, tissue paper, Mod Podge, sponge brush, gold leaf (optional), acrylic paint (bronze, white, black), scissors, X-Acto knife.

Step 1 Find some large shells at your local Salvation Army thrift store or out in the wild if you are fortunate enough to live by a beach.

Step 2 Gather your materials. I chose a decorative tissue paper for my project, but feel free to try paper, gift wrap, etc. I then used a bronze paint with black as my trim since it matched my tissue paper. Note: I included gold leaf since it added a bit of pizzazz and covered any imperfections when I decoupaged the tissue paper.

Step 3 Use a sponge brush to cover the inside of the shell with Mod Podge. Cut a piece of tissue paper slightly larger than your shell, then massage the paper into the shell. You can use your fingers or a dry sponge brush to help cover the shell and work the paper into the grooves. Allow to dry.

Step 4 Once the Mod Podge is dry, use scissors or an X-Acto knife to trim the edges of the paper.

Add another coat of Mod Podge and spread pieces of the gold leaf on the tissue paper. Allow to dry.

Step 5 Paint the outside of the shell with your chosen accent colour. I used bronze for a couple of my shells and a mixture of bronze and black for the other two shells. Allow to dry.

Step 6 Add a trim around the edges of the inside of the shell. Allow to dry. Finally, add a coat of Mod Podge to the inside and outside of the shell.

Denise Corcoran (aka Thrifty By Design) is an author, upcycler, community builder and workshop facilitator based in North Vancouver. She shares her enthusiasm for crafting and upcycling by facilitating “Crafternoons” throughout Vancouver. She is also a creative expert for The Salvation Army’s thrift stores. Find a thrift store near you at

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On Thursday, January 18, 2024, Arlene Holland said:

Very nice, thank you for sharing. Nice for a ladies tea and craft day.

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